Why You Should Own a Home in an A+ School District

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Whether you have children or now, it pays to buy in an area with great schools. Realtor.com® recently released a new study that identifies the price premium to buy a home in a strong public school district, as well as the top 10 districts garnering the highest home prices and demand from buyers.

School districts rising to the top are: Beverly Hills Unified in Los Angeles; Highland Park Independent School District in Dallas; Kenilworth School District No. 38 in Kenilworth, Ill.; Rocky River City School District in Cuyahoga, Ohio; Clear Creek Independent School District in Harris, Texas; and School Town Of Munster School District in Lake, Ind.

Realtor.com® compared homes located in school districts rated 9 or 10 on the GreatSchools.org 10 point scale to homes situated in districts rated six or less. The analysis shows homes within the boundaries of the higher rated public school districts are, one average, 49 percent more expensive – at $400,000 – than the national median of $269,000 and 77 percent more expensive than schools located within the boundaries of the lower ranked districts with a median of $225,000.

“It’s common knowledge that buyers are often willing to pay a premium for a home in a strong school district,” says Javier Vivas, research analyst for realtor.com®. “Our analysis quantifies just how good it is to be a seller in these areas. On average, homes in top-rated districts attract a price premium of almost 50 percent and sell more than a week faster than those located in neighboring lower ranked school districts.”

Houses located in these areas, on average, also move eight days faster than homes in below average school districts and sell four days faster – at 58 days – than the national average of 62 days. Additionally, properties within the boundaries of higher-rated school districts are viewed 26 percent more, on average, than the average home on realtor.com® (an indicator of buyer demand) and 42 percent more than homes in areas with below average schools. 

A look at the top school districts

Highest Price Premiums
In top-ranked Beverly Hills Unified School District, homes sell for 689 percent more, at $3.8 million, than other homes in Los Angeles County, at $550,000. That’s 1.6 times the premium of homes located in the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District – rated 9 – that covers Santa Monica, Calif. and Malibu, Calif. and has a median list price of $2.5 million. Beverly Hills’s price premium is 3.9 times more than Culver City Unified School District in Culver City, Calif. that has a rating of 8 and a median list price of $975,000.

The district with the second highest home price premium is Highland Park Independent School District in Dallas where homes are 632 percent more expensive at $1.8 million than the median home in Dallas County at $277,000. Homes in Highland Park are 3.7 times and 4.4 times more expensive, respectively, than neighboring districts of Coppell Independent School District in Coppell, Texas – rated 9 – with a median of $470,000 and Dallas Independent School District in Dallas – rated  5 – with a median of $400,000, respectively.

Kenilworth School District No. 38 in Kenilworth, Ill., where homes carry a median sales price of $1.6 million, ranked third in the nation with its home price premium of 606 percent compared to Cook County. That’s 2.1 times more than the neighboring district of Wilmette Public Schools District 39 in Wilmette, Ill., rated 10 by GreatSchools, with a median list price of $780,000, and 1.2 times more than Winnetka School District 36  in Winnetka, Ill., rated 10, with a median list price of $1.4 million. Winnetka School District 36 is also ranked fifth in the nation for its home price premium.

Rounding out the Top 10 school districts with the highest price premiums are: Indian Hill Exempted Village School District – Hamilton, Ohio; Winnetka School District 36 – Winnetka, Ill.; Manhattan Beach Unified School District – Los Angeles; Scarsdale Union Free School District – Westchester, N.Y.; Saddle River School District – Bergen, N.J.; San Marino Unified School District – Los Angeles; and Mariemont City School District – Hamilton, Ohio. See chart below for additional detail.

Highest Demand from Home Buyers
The district with the highest home buyer demand – as measured by realtor.com® listing views compared to the surrounding county – is Rocky River City School District in Cuyahoga, Ohio, rated 10, where listings within district boundaries receive 2.8 times more views than other areas in Cuyahoga County. Homes in the Rocky River District also receive 1.7 and 1.5 times more listing views, respectively, than Westlake City School District in Westlake, Ohio ranked 9 by GreatSchools and Lakewood City School District in Lakewood, Ohio with a GreatSchools rating of 6.

Vivas adds, “While highly ranked school districts in these markets have pushed home prices higher than their surrounding areas, the majority of these high demand markets are relatively affordable when compared to the national median, which is a big factor contributing to their popularity.”

The second most popular school district in the nation for home buyers is Clear Creek Independent School District in Harris, Texas. It garners 2.2 times the listing views of Harris County and 1.2 and 1.0 times as many views, respectively, as nearby districts of Pasadena in Pasadena, Texas (rated 5) and La Porte Independent School District in La Porte, Texas.

Coming in as the third most viewed school district for home buyers,  School Town of Munster School District in Lake, Ind., has a GreatSchools rating of 9 and receives nearly 2.2 more listings views than other homes in the county. That’s 1.36 more views than neighboring district of School Town Of Highland Independent School District, rated 6, in Highland, Ind.

Completing the Top 10 list are Orange School District – New Haven, Conn.; Etiwanda Elementary School District – San Bernardino, Calif.; Longmeadow School District – Hampden, Mass.; Strongsville City School District – Cuyahoga, Ohio; Plymouth-Canton Community School – District Wayne, Mich.; and Regional School District 05 School – District New Haven, Conn.

For more information, visit www.realtor.com.


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